Nothing makes a book more page turning than one filled with psychological suspense. Sure, there are the quick frights from horror books or the adrenaline-filled thrills from crime mysteries, but with blockbuster bestsellers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, we all know that the best books are the ones that mess with our heads. Ready for a mind-trip? Here are 8 twisted and sometimes nerve-shredding reads.
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Perfect husband. Perfect father. Perfect liar?
In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, CIA analyst Vivian Miller uncovers a dangerous secret that will threaten her job, her family—and her life. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.
After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—is threatened.
Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
“A real nail-biter…The brisk plot combines psychological suspense with solid action, while providing a realistic look at a family under siege, as it builds to a shocking finale.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two unlucky women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Emma, once reeling from a traumatic break-in, wanted a new place to live. But none of the apartments she found were affordable or felt safe. Until One Folgate Street. But there were rules . . .
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street, she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. However, after moving in, Jane learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance.
Now, as Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror as—the girl before.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Can you ever outrun your past?
From actress, producer, and writer, Krysten Ritter, comes an unforgettable debut novel with tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles.
It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home. But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.
As she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret it will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community.
Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
“Secrets are gradually revealed in a plot that twists to the very end. From the author of My Husband’s Wife, this is nicely sustained psychological suspense.” —Booklist
Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Kitty can’t speak and has no memory of the accident that’s to blame. She lives in an institution, unlikely ever to leave. But that doesn’t keep her from being frightened when she encounters an eerily familiar face.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. She’s struggling to make ends meet and to forget the past. When a teaching job at a prison opens up, she takes it, despite her fears. Maybe this is her chance to set things right. Then she starts to receive alarming notes; next, her classroom erupts in violence.
Meanwhile, someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who never forgot what happened that day. Someone who wants revenge. And only another life will do . . .
Lullaby Road by James Anderson
Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by eccentrics, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. Local truck driver Ben Jones, still in mourning over a heartbreaking loss, is just trying to get through another season of treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without an accident. But then he finds a mute Hispanic child who has been abandoned at a seedy truck stop along his route, far from civilization and bearing a note that simply reads “Please Ben. Watch my son. His name is Juan.” And then at the bottom, a few more hastily scribbled words. “Bad Trouble. Tell no one.”
Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who this child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Ben takes the child with him in his truck and sets out into an environment that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.
I See You by Clare Mackintosh
The psychological thriller Ruth Ware called a “deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”
It all starts during her commute home one night. Zoe Walker glances through her local paper and sees her own face staring back at her in a classified ad. With the grainy photo is a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.
In the following days, she sees other women in the same ad, a different one every day, and nearly all of them show up in the newspapers as victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder.
With the help of a determined cop, Zoe uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose . . . And suddenly, the man on the train sitting across the car—the one smiling at Zoe—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move . . .
Dominic by Mark Pryor
Only two other people know that Dominic, a charming Englishman, prosecutor, and musician in Austin, Texas, is also a psychopath. They also know that a year ago he got away with murder.
One of those people is his “special lady,” and the other is her brother, a teenager and fellow psychopath called Bobby. When a wily homicide detective starts digging up that past murder, little Bobby offers to take care of the problem–permanently. Dominic tries to dissuade him, but as he himself knows, psychopaths aren’t good with following instructions. Or impulse control.
As Detective Megan Ledsome circles closer, Dominic knows his life depends on keeping his secrets hidden, from her and the rest of the world. And when his annoying office-mate declares his interest in a judicial position, one he himself would like, Dominic realizes that one of his carefully-orchestrated plans could kill two birds with one stone.
Of course, that means some sleight of hand and a sacrifice or two. But if there’s one thing a psychopath doesn’t mind, it’s sacrificing other people.